Have you noticed a pattern emerging in some of the Swift boat news accounts? It seems that many of the veterans' stories get fishy at the affidavit stage:
Patrick Runyon, who served on a mission with Mr. Kerry, said he initially thought the caller was from a pro-Kerry group, and happily gave a statement about the night Mr. Kerry won his first Purple Heart. The investigator said he would send it to him by e-mail for his signature. Mr. Runyon said the edited version was stripped of all references to enemy combat, making it look like just another night in the Mekong Delta.
"It made it sound like I didn't believe we got any returned fire," he said. "He made it sound like it was a normal operation. It was the scariest night of my life."
--New York Times
Lieutenant Commander George Elliott said in an interview that he had made a "terrible mistake" in signing an affidavit that suggests Kerry did not deserve the Silver Star....
"I still don't think he shot the guy in the back," Elliott said. "It was a terrible mistake probably for me to sign the affidavit with those words. I'm the one in trouble here."
Elliott said he was no under personal or political pressure to sign the statement, but he did feel "time pressure" from those involved in the book. "That's no excuse," Elliott said. "I knew it was wrong ... In a hurry I signed it and faxed it back. That was a mistake."
Before recording the ad, French signed an affidavit that said: "I am able to swear, as I do hereby swear, that all facts and statements contained in this affidavit are true and correct and within my personal knowledge and belief."
It goes on to say: "Kerry has wildly exaggerated and lied about his record in Vietnam," and that Kerry received his Purple Heart medals "in the absence of hostile fire."...
In an interview with The Oregonian newspaper on Thursday, French said he relied on the accounts of three other veterans in making the statement about Kerry, and did not personally witness the events.
Joe Conason was on this story a month ago. In a July column in Salon (available here), Conason wrote that Thomas Rupprath, a former FBI agent from Texas, was hired by the Swift boat liars to obtain testimony from veterans. Patrick Runyon ID'd Rupprath as the man who interviewed him and then sent the inaccurate affidavit:
Among the witnesses who does recall the firefight is Pat Runyon, a former crew member on Kerry's boat. He too spoke with Rupprath when the detective contacted him recently -- and told Dallas Morning News reporter Wayne Slater that he was stunned to find serious inaccuracies in a version of the interview that Rupprath later sent to him. The most damning mistake, Runyon said, was an insinuation that Kerry's injury had been caused by a flare rather than a bullet.
And more of this may have gone on:
Runyon isn't alone in suspecting that Rupprath may misuse his words, according to Wade Sanders, a former deputy assistant secretary of the Navy who served with Kerry in Vietnam and is publicly supporting the Democrat. Sanders said he has heard lately from a pair of other Navy veterans interviewed by the detective. "They told me that he sent them transcripts [of their interviews] and that they told him that his version was a misrepresentation of what they said."
This seems not to have troubled certain vets -- French and Elliott, for instance. They were handed less-than-truthful affidavits and went on to endorse their contents (although Elliott recanted and then unrecanted).
As for Runyon, the liars apparently just went ahead and ascribed their lie to him in their book:
O'Neill and Corsi, however, claim there is no evidence whatsoever Kerry took any enemy fire that night.
Patrick Runyon was operating the engine on the Boston whaler during the incident.
"I can't say for sure that we got return fire or how [Kerry] got nicked," Runyon is quoted as saying in "Unfit for Command." "I couldn't say one way or the other. I know he did get nicked, a scrape on the arm."
And that's based on what?